FIFA has taken measures to protect broadcast rights for the FIFA World Cup by initiating legal action against ‘beoutQ’, a pirate network providing illegal streams of the tournament in Russia.
In a short statement on its website, FIFA announced it “has observed that the pirate entity named ‘beoutQ’ continues to use illegally the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ broadcast signal”.
“Accordingly, FIFA has engaged counsel to take legal action in Saudi Arabia and is working alongside other sports rights owners that have also been affected to protect its interest.
“FIFA urges the authorities of Saudi Arabia and of the different countries where these illegal activities have been observed to support us in the fight against piracy.”
Acccording to The Independent, this isn’t just any pirate network.
Based in the Middle East, beoutQ reportedly spawned from a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and four other nations – United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt – who all cut ties with the 2022 World Cup host due to its alleged links with terrorism.
Unfortunately for football fans, Qatar-based beIN Sports was given full broadcast rights in the region for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and failed to reach agreements with broadcasters in any of the aforementioned countries.
Naturally, it was only a matter of time before an illegal stream surfaced. It was beoutQ who pounced on the opportunity, hijacking the beIN Sports stream and broadcasting it in Saudi Arabia with a geo-block.
But beoutQ quickly grew its network to a point where it offered 10 beIN channels to users throughout the Middle East, with an infrastructure resembling a legitimate corporate entity complete with advertising deals, a subscription model and set-top boxes – despite illegally obtaining 100% of its content.